If you’ve been waiting to feel like spring is really here, you should definitely feel it in the air this weekend when outdoor festivals start springing up on Long Island and the warm weather fun begins to bloom.
Spring Craft Beer Festival —
Rain or shine, you can toast to spring Saturday at the Spring Craft Beer Festival being held in conjunction with the opening weekend of Belmont Park racetrack. Attendees must be at least 21.
Local and national craft breweries will be pouring samples of their finest beer — with more than 100 varieties on tap. This year will also be the first time festival ticket holders can enjoy the live horse racing trackside.
Long Island breweries participating include Blue Point Brewing Co. of Patchogue and Long Ireland Beer Co. of Riverhead.
“This could very well be our very best Spring Craft Beer Fest yet,” says Andy Calimano, owner of the Bay Shore-based event producer, Starfish Junction. “Not only will attendees be able to grab samples of some amazing beers, but they’ll be able to watch live horse racing from the best seat in the house, trackside, at the final turn of the homestretch.”
Betting windows will be available, Calimano adds, and food trucks will sell items that pair well with beer, including cheesesteaks, empanadas, gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and brick oven pizza. “This is a unique experience, different from our previous fests,” Calimano says.
Two ticket options are available. Tickets for the VIP session that runs from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. are $75, and tickets for general admission running from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. are $50. In addition to an extra hour at the event, the VIP experience includes a souvenir glass taster and a meet-and-greet with brewers. In addition, VIPs can sample specialty beers that will only be served in the VIP area.
Designated driver tickets are available for $12, and designated drivers must also be at least 21. A photo ID is required for all attendees.
Belmont Park racetrack is at 2150 Hempstead Tpke. in Elmont.
Tickets and information are available at SpringCraftBeerFestival.com.
LI-DOG Pack Walk and Old Westbury Gardens Spring Dog Festival-
The dogs are being let out Saturday for LI-DOG’s Pack Walk — an hourlong guided tour of the English-themed Old Westbury Gardens, the former estate of John Shaffer Phipps, heir to the U.S. Steel fortune.
Just look for the blue LI-Dog tent at the gardens, at 71 Old Westbury Rd. Free registration starts at 11 a.m. and the walk starts at 11:45 a.m.
The walk is almost all on flat ground and there are opportunities to shorten the walk for those who wish to do so. Make sure to bring bags for cleaning up after your dog and bring your camera, as there are many beautiful photo opportunities on the grounds.
Those who register for the Pack Walk will have the opportunity to donate to LI-DOG for a chance to win a raffle basket full of doggy toys and treats. Proceeds support LI-DOG’s work to gain more access to public parks and beaches for Long Island dog owners and their pets.
Make sure to stick around after the Pack Walk to enjoy the Old Westbury Gardens Spring Dog Festival with booths and exhibits from rescues, animal advocacy organizations and vendors selling doggy goodies and gear. The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday only.
On Sunday, visitors will still be able to walk the grounds with their dogs but there will be no festivities.
Dogs must always be on-leash when visiting the gardens and they are not allowed in any buildings on the grounds or in the Walled Gardens. No retractable leashes can be used when on the Pack Walk to prevent the dogs from becoming entangled.
The dog day will be held rain or shine.
Old Westbury Gardens admission fees are $12 for adults; $10 for seniors (62 and older) and $7 children ages 7 to 17. Admission is free for Gardens members, children under 6, and dogs.
For more information, please visit oldwestburygardens.org.
Arbor Day Family Festival —
Families can enjoy tree planting and doing lots of other things together at the Arbor Day Family Festival being held Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park in Oyster Bay.
Since 1987, Planting Fields has commemorated national Arbor Day with a weekend of family-friendly activities to celebrate the importance of trees and to teach the public about tree care and conservation.
“The Arbor Day Family Festival is one of our most cherished events at Planting Fields,” says Gina Wouters, executive director of Planting Fields Foundation. “With over 4,000 specimen trees, 80 magnolias, and 13 Long Island champion trees throughout the landscape, we’re excited to offer an experience that engages our community and inspires preservation of this important natural resource.”
Activities for the day (to be held rain or shine) will include a plant clinic held by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County, a Long Island Bonsai Society exhibition and a guided garden tours of historic Coe Hall, now part of the state park. The property was owned by the late William Robertson Coe, a railroad and insurance executive born in Kingswinford, Staffordshire, England.
A scavenger hunt, tree climbing, book readings and crafts will be among the offerings for children, who can also have pictures of them drawn by a caricaturist.
Admission to the festival is free for Planting Fields Foundation members and $20 per vehicle for nonmembers (cash only). All proceeds will benefit Planting Fields.
“Planting Fields has celebrated a rich history of magnificent trees and their importance for over 100 years,” says Vinnie Simeone, director of Planting Fields. “The Coe family started this great tradition. Every day is Arbor Day at Planting Fields.”
Planting Field Arboretum State Historic Park is at 1395 Planting Fields Rd., Oyster Bay.
For more information, please visit plantingfields.org.
Seatuck Eco-Carnival —
Nature programs, live animals, music, art, games and food to celebrate Earth Day 2019 are just a few of the activities and things to enjoy Saturday at the Seatuck Eco-Carnival being held at the Suffolk County Environmental Center from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Rain date is Sunday.
The day’s lineup includes a nature station with salt marsh exploration, bird watching, learning about insects, a live reptile show, and learning botanical basics through the leaf and bark rubbings of plants.
“The Eco-Carnival is a full day of educational family fun,” says Lisa Smith, a spokeswoman for the event. More than 25 nonprofit vendors will participate.
There is a suggested donation at the gate of $5 per person and $20 per family. This year, for the first time, four free shuttles will also be provided to the events by the Town of Islip.
The Suffolk County Environmental Center is at 550 South Bay Ave., Islip.
For more information, please visit seatuck.org or call 631-581-6908.